At 20:00, August 25, 2015, PresidentFang Fei of the Changchun Institute of Urban Planning & Design acted as a guest speaker to the “Evening Talk in the Village” of the China National Radio, where he expressed his insightful views on “beautiful countryside and farm-village economy” from the perspective of a senior planner. His original ideas, and his comprehensive interpretation of micro farm villages, in particular, broadened the horizon of the beautiful countryside construction to people from all walks of life.
What Is a Micro Farm Village?
It is known to all that holiday is one of the life style exclusively enjoyed by urban residents. A farm village, just as its name implies, is surely a kind of agricultural production unit deeply imbedded in the countryside. Then, a holiday micro farm village means to closely combine urban life and rural life to identify their common points and symbiosis points. In fact, the holiday micro farm village means cultivating a new village agricultural production entity in the countryside by means of adopting urban life, production, operation and business organization models.
To be more specific, the holiday micro farm village is a very good concept. It can enlighten and inspire numerous people, such as urban real estate developers, young entrepreneurs, and even master hands engaged in specialized production in the rural areas, to find a stage of entrepreneurship here.
Micro Farm Village =Happy Farmhouse?
The idea of the micro farm village brings us more enlightenment than the so-calledhappy farmhouse because it is a higher form. Nowadays, many scenic spots becometightly packed during statutory holidays. However, to me, much beautiful scenery just lies around cities. Now there are many so-called happy farmhouse around metropolises, with a strong sense of business, but to the rural areas, it is more like an invasion in form instead of a symbiosis and harmoniousness.
The most central contents of the micro farm village intend to combine cities with villages to actually enable cities to exchange with farmers at short range instead of invasion. There may be a great variety of micro farm villages, some for young couples with children for intimacy exchange, some for successful people for leisure and health, and some for weddings, like lawn weddings, etc. They may have varied functions, orientations and urban consumers, but, when these people come to the farm village, the adjacent villages will rise in value. Through land transfer, farmers can engage themselves in businesses, which is a state of symbiosis and harmoniousness. So, a very important advantage of the micro farm village is to link the hearts of the urban and the rural residents. And we believe that it will be successful in business as well because it satisfies the demand for holiday consumption as well as closely caters to urban residents’ spiritual consumption.
Will the Micro Farm Village Bring Back Productivity?
During the dozens of years’ urbanization, there emerged many problems as well as progresses. Many excellent young farmers have succeeded in cities, but we must care about the aged who cannot work in cities. There will be some dead-space sorry in the course of new urbanization if their survival problem cannot be solved. We must attach importance to the farmer problem in China. The resources in farmers’ hands are very limited indeed. In Northeast China, in particular, ours are mainly large industries of automobiles, aviation, etc., which leads to the fact that they are very weak in accepting low-skilled labor force, so it is pretty hard for Northeast Chinafarmers to find employment locally.
Now there are many very beautiful mountains and waters in the countryside, and urban residents wish for a lower life pace. The urban area and the rural area are two sides of a coin, and neither of them can tear itself away from the other. That is why planners should do something in the country. Our institute is named institute of urban planning & design. Both the urban and the rural areas are integrated. There must be problems in the city if the rural problem cannot be properly addressed.
What Qualifications Must a Micro Farm Village Have?
The threshold of the micro farm village is by no means high. Basically any place within 100-km around a provincial capital can do it. In terms of scale, we suggest 5-10 hectares. As for location, it must be close to a village. At the beginning, it’s not necessary to be large. It should take advantage of land transfer in the country and focus on major products within the farm village. Let me give you a simple example. You can move a fashionable restaurant here and it becomes a farm village restaurant culture. You can move a nursery or a kindergarten here, and even a common folk-customs hotel here. In addition, you can move a gym, or a meeting room here. All sorts of operations common in life can be relocated to the farm village so that people can live a city life in such a place of environmental beauty and picturesque scenery. In this process, you can inspire others who will inspire you in turn. It is not simply to eat a meal in a so-call rural paradise and go away, leaving only a pile of garbage behind.
So, the micro farm village is something worthy joint explorations, which is very much like the “Internet +”. You can understand it as a “farm village +”. You bring the things you are good at in the city. The city and the country, with blood vessels in which the blood and the qi circulate should not be today’s city and country that are entirely different. This requires homogenized growth of the infrastructures in both the city and the country. We cannot rely on the government and we must rely on the market economy for operations in the process.
What Is the Starting Point of the Micro Farm Village?
We made more than 10 rural planning last year, andwe saw garbage everywhere, mixed dwelling of people and animals, loss of young labor force, and some other problems in the countryside when we walked into the rural areas.
However, there was an exception, which was an ethnic Korean autonomous township, where people mainly grew paddy. Growing paddy brings high added values and entails labor, so many youths stayed in the country to serve their hometown. It was a huge enlightenment to us. I think that young people will like to stay home if there are plenty of opportunities for them.
The country and the city are the two side of a coin. Cities cannot be arrogant, and they must broaden their horizon. The national strategy for industrial transformation forces us to plan how to turn ideas into realities. In fact, Bordeaux, the famous village in France, is a wine village with a clear-cut theme, and it serves as a success case of urban and rural symbiosis.
We held a cross-strait agricultural forum in Changchun not long ago. Upon hearing presentations, many young farmers raised the question, “I only know growing strawberries, and what canI do?” I answered, “Good, ship your strawberries, with your logo, to our farm village, and they will be marketed in supermarkets or online in the future. Then more and more people will get to know you.” The micro farm village does not merely mean an entrepreneurship. You can participate in any of the sectors of it.
We are further implementing some projects related to the micro farm village. You may log into our official website of the Changchun Institute of Urban Planning & Design. Our website will soon release information on micro farm village franchise alliance and involvement methods. You can tell us your specialities. 2015 witnessed the debut of a dream and it will come true on the happy Children’s Day on June 1st
next year. We are looking forward to your attention and participation.
Guest Speaker Profile:
Fang Fei, Presidentof the Changchun Institute of Urban Planning & Design. In 2005, the “Special Planning for the Changchun Urban Sculptures” chaired by him won the 3rd
prize of the Ministry of Construction for national excellent planning and design; the “Master Plan for Changchun Municipality”, also chaired by him, won the 1st
prize of Jilin Province for excellent design. In 2012, Mr. Fang Fei was rated as a survey and design master of Jilin Province. In 2014, he was rated as an “Innovation-oriented excellent entrepreneur”. He is alwaysconcerning over the beautiful countryside and the farm village economy.